How to recycle your Christmas tree

As Christmas festivities come to an end, so does the presence of one of the most representative and deeply rooted symbols of the Christmas spirit, the Christmas tree. This is its correct disposal.

How to recycle your Christmas tree
Dismantling and recycling your Christmas tree. Photo by Ralph (Ravi) Kayden / Unsplash

The Christmas festivities are coming to an end, as well as the presence of one of the most representative symbols and rooted in the Christmas spirit, the Christmas tree. For those who this year opted for a natural Christmas tree, and think that its end will be the garbage or the sidewalk, or simply leave it on the street, here are the other purposes for which your Christmas tree is destined, assuming above all the responsibility of its correct disposal.

The importance of recycling

The benefit of recycling lies mainly in the care of the environment and the fight against climate change. Recycling avoids the increase of domestic and industrial waste that could pollute water, soil and increase toxic gases. Among the actions you can apply, is the three "R's", that is, recycle, reuse and reduce. This practice can be carried out both at home and at work. This is what it's all about.

Recycle. Separate waste according to its types, such as organic, plastic, glass, paper and cardboard, metal, textiles, and toxics.
Reuse. It is about giving new use to materials instead of throwing them away. The purpose is to use them for another purpose.
Reduce. This is about consuming more efficiently, that is, how to make more rational use of things to reduce the amount of waste generated.

According to the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, revaluing waste means appreciating it no longer as a mixture of dirt and useless waste, but as materials that can be put to another use or form part of a new production process.

You can recover materials and, consequently, save raw materials, energy, and water needed for the production of new products and reduce environmental pollution.
It contributes to creating sources of work for unskilled labor.
It allows the industry to obtain secondary raw materials at a low price and increases its competitiveness.
It reduces the amount of waste disposed of in dumps or landfills, reducing costs and environmental impacts.

There is no magic wand to make garbage disappear; however, with small actions, you will contribute a lot to the efficient management of final waste.

What to do with the Christmas tree?

Dispose of it through tree collection campaigns to give them a special treatment and use them for other purposes such as composting. Check with your city hall or municipality for collection dates and locations. Another option if you can't take your tree to a collection center or don't want it to go to the trash, is to reuse it. One of the questions you will surely ask yourself is how to do it or for what purpose. Here are some ideas.

As garden compost or to deposit them at the foot of plants to preserve freshness and stop or delay the appearance of weeds.
You can remove the leaves and leave them for a while to scent your room. Some leaves still take time to dry completely and emanate a pine scent.
If you have a fireplace, you can choose to let the branches dry longer and use them as firewood.
It can also be used to light a campfire or for a grill.
Many people let it dry and decorate it with paints to reuse it for the next Christmas season. Sort of like an artificial tree.
Some people use the branches to make crafts for home decoration or to make other Christmas decorations. On the internet, there are tutorials for making crafts with tree branches. It would be worth your while to check them out.
If your tree is potted and you have a garden, maybe it would have the opportunity to be replanted in your garden, in case you have it or relocate it to a suitable place.
As compost to fertilize gardens.
It can serve as a birdhouse.

But trees are also used to make effective barriers against soil erosion, especially for lake and river stabilization. They can be placed in dunes where they help anchor the sand in place.

They also serve as fish feeders, sinking them in the water they are an excellent refuge, breeding, and feeding area for fish of different species. The weight of the tree acts as an anchor, and as time passes, algae begin to form on the tree, feeding the fish and protecting them from predators.

And that's not all, since a natural Christmas tree is biodegradable, its branches can be removed and used as mulch (topsoil made up primarily of decaying organic matter) in the garden. It's a way to keep your yard trees healthy and moist during the cold winter season. Pine needles are full of nutrients that improve the PH of your soil if it is more alkaline and allows your soil to breathe.

You can also burn the wood from your tree, the ashes can be spread in your garden. Wood ash contains potassium and lime (among other nutrients), which help plants grow. The ashes are also useful for keeping insects away. Don't confuse wood ash with coal ash; coal ash does not offer the same benefits.

Similarly, they are used as a material to make free, renewable, natural trails that suit both the environment and the needs of hikers.

Did it make you happy? Give your Christmas tree a good use by way of farewell, do not abandon it, and take advantage of everything good described above.